How to Avoid Having Your Decisions Changed by Others

Three Methods:Finding Confidence in Your Decision MakingHandling Manipulation and CriticismConfronting a Person Who Wants to Change Your Decision

Making decisions can be challenging, especially when everyone has an opinion. Focus on feeling self-assured to avoid unwanted influence from outsiders. Confidence in your choices and acceptance of the consequences can help you confront people who may feel the need to sway you. Find ways to notice manipulation and confront the situation in the best way possible.

Method 1
Finding Confidence in Your Decision Making

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    Trust yourself. Be confident in your ability to make a choice that works for you in the moment. Know that the outcome of your decision may not be what you expected; however, you will always have an opportunity to make a different decision down the line. [1]
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    Seek support from an uninvolved friend or mentor. If you have a trusted friend or mentor, ask her to sit down with you and talk about the situation. She may be able to give advice based on experience or just hear you out. [2]
    • Don’t let this person change your mind entirely. Instead, she should be able to support whatever choice you make.[3]
    • Try calling a friend and saying, “I’m trying to choose the right university for me. Can I tell you what I’ve been thinking?”
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    Imagine that you are helping someone else. Big decisions can be really difficult, especially when your emotions get in the way. Imagine that you are talking to a close friend who is in your situation. What would you say or do to help him make the right choice? [4]
    • Make a list of the types of questions you would ask to help your friend. [5]Additionally, write down past experiences that would help guide your friend’s thinking.
    • Pretend that your friend is choosing a university. What are the first questions that come to mind when think of your friend's needs?
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    Avoid waiting for every fact and detail. Although it is good to weigh the pros and cons, you don’t want to overload yourself with information. This will eventually confuse you and overwhelm your process. [6]
    • Gather enough facts that will help you see the situation clearly. Then start thinking about what is best for you and those involved.
    • In choosing a college, for example, it is important to think about what you want to study, proximity to your home, finances, the social environment, and other things that are important to you. You do not, however, need to know every fact about the university before you make a choice.
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    Challenge your usual thinking. Sometimes we get stuck in the same patterns because we do not challenge our beliefs. Try listing your assumptions about your situation and imagine if everything were the opposite. How would you make your decision if the circumstances were different? [7]
    • When a situation is framed in a positive way, people tend to be afraid of taking risks. On the other hand, when the situation is framed negatively, we are more likely to make a risky choice. [8]
    • Maybe one university offers study abroad and the other offers a major of interest. Try framing it negatively. Ask yourself what would happen if you never study abroad or how you would feel if you had to change your major.
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    Accurately evaluate your options. People tend to have biases especially in decision making. It is common that people will feel overly confident about a decision or swayed in a particular directions. [9]
    • Try to ignore any biases you may have about your situation. For example, you may have heard that one college is better than the other, but you have not fully investigated why or how.
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    Confidently accept the consequences. Accept that you may face consequences as a result of your choice. You must be prepared to face them. Remember that you thought through the pros and cons decision making process! [10]
    • Try asking yourself about the true price you will pay for the decision. Think about if you are willing to accept what will happen. Do you have alternatives?[11]
    • You may not be the only one who will face challenges as a result of your decision. Consider those around you, and come to a fair conclusion.
    • When choosing a college, there are many factors to consider. It is your education, but family members often help financially. Remember to think about how your decision affects them too.

Method 2
Handling Manipulation and Criticism

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    Take criticism and move on. Know that there will always be someone who disagrees with what you do. Focus on what is right for you instead of other people’s responses. [12]
    • For example, people may be shocked at your choice of university. Accept that you made the right choice for your future.
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    Know the key tenets of manipulation. A manipulative person will most often notice your weaknesses and take advantage of you when the moment is right. This is usually repeated, forcing you to compromise yourself over and over again. [13]
    • Most people are manipulative in some way. The key is to notice if you feel that you have to compromise for someone else.
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    Don’t give into feeling guilty. In many cases, a person may manipulate you into feeling guilty about your decision. [14]
    • They may say things like, “No decent person would do that.” Try responding to such statements with, “We don’t always need to agree on my decisions.”[15]
    • You may, for example, have a family member that attended one of the universities you are choosing from. Try saying, “I know you want me to go there, but I made a choice that suits my goals.”
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    Avoid the scare of threats. Manipulative people often threaten to take something away from you like love or money.[16]
    • A loved one may threaten to withdraw affection. It can be emotionally damaging and unfair. Love should be without conditions, so note that such threats do not come from a place of caring. [17]
    • A parent may threaten to hold you completely responsible for the cost of your education. Consider if this is reasonable for you. Could you get a scholarship if this happened? A loan?
    • A person might also try to create doubt for you, such as, "You'll never get a good job if you go to that college," or, "You won't be able to get into that college anyway."
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    Notice when people make things urgent. This may be to pressure you into a decision before you are ready to make it.[18] Give yourself time to make the right choice for you.[19]
    • When choosing a college, for example, you may not have much time before the university deadline. Don’t allow other people’s anxieties pressure you prematurely.

Method 3
Confronting a Person Who Wants to Change Your Decision

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    Stay calm and be assertive. Learn to firmly say no to someone who wants to change your mind. You can say no without being aggressive or rude. Pay attention to your tone of voice. Remember to state that you have chosen what you believe is best. [20]
    • If you have to give a negative response, you may want to say something like, “I’m sorry if this is not what you want to hear, but I have made my decision. It’s the college that is right for me.”
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    Remind yourself of the time you gave to your decision. You may need to tell the person who wants to change your mind that you have given it a lot of thought. You carefully evaluated the situation and came to best decision.
    • Try saying, “I have weighed the pros and cons of both universities and I came to decision that is best for me at this time.”
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    Don’t escalate the situation. If someone is upset about your actions, he may say confrontational things to force you to defend yourself. Try not to get sucked into this behavior.
    • For example, say a short response like, “That’s my decision,” or “You seem upset. Let’s talk about this later” may help.
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    Learn to accept decisions that are out of your hands. In some cases, you will not have the final say. You may make a decision, only to have it changed or overruled by someone in a higher position, like your boss. In this situation, you can speak to your boss about why you made the decision — calmly state all your reasons for why you think you made the best choice. Then listen to what your boss has to say. She may have more information than you do, or different priorities, or just outright disagree. If the decision ultimately lies in her hands, then take in her reasons for overruling you, and move on. Know that you made what you felt was the best decision based on the information you had, and it's okay that the other person disagreed.
    • Try not to linger on the fact that your decision was overruled or badmouth the other person's decision, even if you think your decision was the right one. It can be frustrating, especially if, down the line, it turns out your decision would have been better, but it reflects badly on you if you complain or have an "I told you so" attitude.


  • Dominant personalities may seem more manipulative, but manipulation comes in many forms. Confront manipulators without judgement as everyone is manipulative in some way.
  • Maintain a level head when making and defending your decisions.
  • A person may want to change your decision in their favor. Focus on what is right for you!


  • Not all people who try to change your decision have hidden agendas or personal motives.
  • Your decision may be bad for all those involved or affected. Assessing the situation logically and fairly may help you come to a good conclusion.

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Categories: Goal Realization & Problem Solving